© 2017 American Structurepoint, Inc.

PROCESS

 

What is a Plan Commission?

The primary duty of a plan commission is to develop and recommend to the legislative body—which in this case is the Henry County Commissioners—a plan for the future of the community; a plan that then serves as the basis for the commission’s future recommendations and decisions.

Under Indiana law, plan commissions are responsible for preparing a comprehensive plan, preparing a zoning ordinance and a subdivision control ordinance, making recommendations to the legislative body on proposals to amend the text of the zoning ordinance or subdivision control ordinance, making recommendations to the legislative zoning body on proposals to amend the zoning map (i.e. rezonings), approving or denying proposals to subdivide land, approving development plans, and assigning street addresses.

Commissioners are often asked to weigh in on other matters such as annexations, utility extensions, tax abatements, tax policy, school districting, neighborhood revitalization, locations for new public facilities, and environmental protection.

Members of a Plan Commission typically serve for four years. The make up of a plan commission is prescribed by Indiana Code but include citizen members who do not hold an elected or appointed office, and members who are appointed because they represent a specific interest, such as a city engineer or county surveyor.

Serving on a plan commission means learning about planning, about your community, listening to citizens, visiting development sites, and serving on subcommittees from time to time.

Click here to view a list of the steering committee members

How is the Comprehensive Plan created?

The comprehensive plan planning process is part technical city planning (completed in large part by certified planning professionals at American Structurepoint), part key stakeholder involvement (by way of a Steering Committee and focus groups), and part public engagement (this means YOU!). Together we will:

  • Evaluate existing conditions and determine what local, state and national trends suggest

  • Get input from a variety of sources to discover what the issues and opportunities are

  • Articulate a community-wide vision through a series of strategies and action steps

  • Ultimately fulfill the requirements of Indiana state statute and include statements of objectives and other policy statements for the future use of land, public ways, public utilities, and a variety of other components

 

Who gets to participate in the development of the plan?

Anyone and everyone! In addition to this project website where we will periodically post online polls/surveys, we will be hosting a series of public meetings throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2017.

In the meantime, a Steering Committee comprising approximately 20 community leaders, business owners, key community stakeholders, and County and City officials isassisting the American Structurepoint team in ensuring that both the public input process and the final document will uniquely serve the residents and business of Henry County. In addition to having the Steering Committee as a sounding board, the American Structurepoint team will use focus groups comprised of as many as 200 local stakeholders to do a deeper dive on any number of topics during the planning process.

For more information about how to get involved look under the “Get Involved!” tab at the top of this page.

Why wasn’t ___(fill in the blank)___ invited to participate as part of this process?

The Henry County Comprehensive Plan was commissioned by The Henry County Advisory Plan Commission, and was designed and is being executed to include the participation of anyone – local elected or appointed official or otherwise – who is interested in establishing a roadmap for the future growth and development of the areas and communities that fall under the jurisdiction of the Henry County Advisory Plan Commission. Those communities include: Middletown, Sulphur Springs, Springport, Mount Summit, Mooreland, Blountsville, Straughn, Lewisville, Spiceland, Dunreith, and the rest of the unincorporated land within the county. This isn’t to suggest that we are guaranteed to get any participation from any one of these communities or beyond; just that the process is open to anyone that wants to participate.

 

How can I be sure that all communities within Henry County have the opportunity to be heard throughout this planning process?

The Henry County Comprehensive Plan planning process involves input from all parts of the County. Although the purpose of this plan is to provide a framework guideline for the future of Henry County’s jurisdictional boundaries of all municipalities and unincorporated land under the Henry County Advisory Plan Commission, this planning process will include input and consideration of all other incorporated cities and towns that are not under the Henry County Plan Commission’s jurisdictions; including, New Castle, Knightstown, Shirley, Greensboro, Kennard, and Cadiz.

To ensure a wide range of social and geographical input, this planning process includes a variety of public outreach methods, which includes:

  • Steering Committee – The steering committee, composed by various local government, business, and social service leaders throughout the county, meets with the project team on a regular basis to discuss the progress and next steps of the comprehensive plan process. Agenda’s and summaries of the Steering Committee Meetings can be found here.

  • Community Stakeholder Focus Groups – In January, hundreds of local community stakeholders turned out for the focus group meetings to participate in a guided, round-table discussion with the project team to discuss various focus topics related to community development and planning. These groups included local community members and leaders throughout the county in 7 meeting topics – agriculture; housing and real estate; transportation and utilities; economic development; parks and recreation; education and workforce development; and public safety. Summaries of all 7 Focus Group Meetings can be found here.

  • Public Open House Events – Multiple public open house events will take place throughout this planning effort. The first “Values and Vision” public open house event was held on May 17, 2017, at the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown. Future open house events and public reveals will take place in other parts of the county further along in the planning process. Summary results of the May Public Open House event can be found here.

  • Online Surveys – In addition to the rotating community polls on the project website homepage, online survey(s) will be used throughout this process to hopefully reach community members that were unable to attend a public meeting event. Summary results of the Value and Vision online survey can be found here.

 

How long is the planning process?

From start to finish, the process for the Henry County Comprehensive Plan is 14 months, which is typical for a comprehensive planning process of this size and scope.

This current planning process began in October/November 2016 with the selection of a consulting firm, American Structurepoint, and the formation of the Steering Committee.

It is estimated that the Henry County Comprehensive Plan will be substantially complete by December 2017.

What if I just have a question or concern? Who can I contact?

Fill out the contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you directly—you never know, your question may just make its way onto this FAQ page!

Please allow 24 hours for us to connect you with the person that can answer your question or most directly address your need.

 

PLAN

 

What is a Comprehensive Plan? Is it required?

  • The most common approach for addressing nearly all of the interrelated aspects of a community

  • Topics of discussion include: land use planning, housing and neighborhood revitalization, parks and recreation, environmental and natural systems, transportation and utility infrastructure, economic development, education and workforce development, and municipal and community services, among others

  • A strategic guide for effective decision-making in both private development projects and community expenditures for the public good

  • A series of written recommendations, guidelines, policies, and/or strategies to help the community realize its vision

  • A way for all members of a community to be engaged in a local and cooperative process for the purposes of creating a roadmap for the future that meets the unique needs and values of the local community

  • In Indiana, a community cannot regulate land use and development if they have not first engaged in a process of thinking about the future.  The comprehensive plan is the basis for zoning and yet the current Henry County Comprehensive Plan was completed in 1999.

What are the benefits of completing a comprehensive plan?

  • Preserve and enhance the local character

  • Shape how the community changes over time

  • Promote the orderly development and redevelopment of the county

  • Improve the quality of life of residents

  • Assist local government in making land use decisions, especially as it relates to the effective and efficient delivery of public services, such as roads and utilities

  • Coordinate development and future capital expenditures within and between agencies and departments

  • Improve local conditions so as to attract more private investment

  • Avoid costly mitigation of poorly planned developments

What areas are included in the Henry County Comprehensive Plan?

The Henry County Comprehensive Plan planning area applies to all land within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Henry County Advisory Plan Commission which includes all unincorporated land (e.g. New Lisbon, Ogden, Raysville Westwood, etc.) within the county as well as the following municipalities: Middletown, Sulphur Springs, Springport, Mount Summit, Mooreland, Blountsville, Straughn, Lewisville, Spiceland, and Dunreith, as the county plan commission has jurisdiction over all planning and zoning related matters in these communities. 

(Incorporated cities and towns not under the Henry County Plan Commissions jurisdiction include New Castle, Knightstown, Shirley, Greensboro, Kennard, and Cadiz).​

 

What the Henry County Comprehensive plan IS NOT?

  • A regulation. While the Comprehensive Plan is intended to inform zoning and the subdivision of land, the plan is not an ordinance

  • ​A rezoning of land

  • The plan is not the only piece of a Plan Commission’s land use decision making process

  • ​The plan is not the solution for all of the community’s challenges

 

IMPLEMENTATION

 

How is a comprehensive plan adopted?

  • Plan Commission holds a public hearing on the plan

  • Plan Commission recommends it to the legislative body, the Henry County Commissioners, for adoption

  • The legislative body can: adopt the plan as recommended; adopt the plan with amendments, or reject the plan

  • If the plan is amended or rejected, the legislative body can forward the plan, along with written comments, to the Plan Commission who will then have 60 days to consider the amendments or reasons for rejection

  • If the Plan Commission agrees with the legislative body’s amendments, the plan is adopted and neither the commission nor the commissioners will need to take further action

  • If the Plan Commission disagrees with an amendment, the legislative body can still amend the plan, but only if it votes again in favor of the amendment within 60 days

  • Future amendments to the comprehensive plan can be initiated by the Plan Commission or the legislative body, and the process for amending the plan is the same as the procedure for adopting the plan

 

How will the Comprehensive Plan be used?

  • The basis for all land use and development decisions

  • A point of reference for property owners, developers, lenders, elected and appointed officials and county or municipal staff looking to inform local policy, land use, transportation, and other infrastructure investments over the next 10 to 20 years

  • A guide for future land use, public investment, and development decisions

  • Justification for the need to protect natural resources and prime agricultural lands, create opportunities for private investment, and enhance quality of life

 

How will I know what is being done and by whom?

At the direction of the Steering Committee, each policy objective recommended in the final plan document will include, at a minimum, a set of action steps and potential resources.  The latter of which will often include partnering agencies and departments.